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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Livgren, Kerry - 1980 Seeds Of Change
Livgren, Kerry - 1980 Seeds Of Change

ARTIST: Livgren, Kerry
ALBUM: Seeds Of Change
LABEL: Kirshner
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: Sony (Japan), SRCS 6297 * 1996, Renaissance Records (USA), RMED-112


LINEUP: Kerry Livgren - guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, vocals * Jeff Pollard, Ronnie James Dio, Steve Walsh, Myron LeFevre, Davy Moire, David Pack - lead vocals * Barriemore Barlow, Phil Ehart, John Thompson - drums * Paul Goddard, Gary Gilbert - bass * Robbie Steinhardt - violins * Darryl Kutz- harmonica * Bobby Campo - trumpet, percussion * John Fristoe, Joey Jelf, Donna Williams, Victoria Livgren, Brad Aaron, Davy Moire, Steve Venezia - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Just One Way * 02 Mask Of The Great Deceiver * 03 How Can You Live? * 04 Whiskey Seed * 05 To Live For The King * 06 Down To The Core * 07 Ground Zero


Having been raised in the Evangelical Christian community; I pretty much saw it all when it came to the good the Christian faith offers as well as its hypocrisies. People are people no matter what religion they follow, but hearing the BS surrounding this record at the time of its release was particularly disheartening. Guitarist Kerry Livgren had converted to Christianity a year earlier during the 'Monolith' tour and was eager to express his new found faith in Kansas as well as this, his first solo album 'Seeds Of Change'. Unfortunately Livgren experienced the scolding finger of Evangelicals all too soon with the inclusion of former Rainbow and during this time Black Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio on the record. Apparently in their infinite ignorance, many Christians failed to understand or even knew Livgren's background and motivations before casting judgment, while secular record buyers and critics didn't quite know what to make of Livgren's transformation, and the album failed to do much business in either market.

The Songs
At the time 'Seeds Of Change' was the best Christian album this reviewer had ever heard. Keep in mind; the Christian labels had yet to catch up with the AOR scene in 1980 and the entire market was bleak to say the least. With this record, I believe new doors were opened and the bar was raised for Christian rock bands to move away from the 'Jesus Music' malaise of the '70s and into a melodic pop rock sound without being overly 'preachy' and who better to lead the charge than one of progressive rock's finest and most respected guitar players? Indeed, the LP offers a wide pallet of music very much in the Kansas style and 'Just One Way' with vocals from Le Roux's Jeff Pollard is a classic in every way. Appropriate too, since Pollard is credited for Livgren's conversion, but again the lyrics are never overbearing. Arguably, the albums best songs are the sung by Ronnie James Dio; 'Mask Of The Great Deceiver' and 'To Live For The King'. Ironically instead of subject matter related to Witches and Dragons, Dio sings of love, hope and the dangers of Satan and I'll be damned if it doesn't work! Wonderful stuff, but one of the albums biggest surprises is 'How Can You Live' with vocals by Steve Walsh. Walsh had been annoyed with Livgren's religious leanings for quite some time, but here he provides nothing short of a classic that could have been placed on any Kansas album. Last, but not least is the albums cornerstone 'Ground Zero' with vocals by Ambrosia's David Pack. Lyrically not enough to put anyone off, although there is a clear message here and musically this is one of Pack's better performances on a beautifully executed progressive rock track that stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of Kansas or Ambrosia.

In Summary
'Seeds of Change' has been reissued on CD but is now out of print. Kerry's web site has a CDR version available, but I would seek out the Renaissance Records issue featuring a short interview with Livgren and for reasons unknown - his nephew Jake Livgren. I can't recommend 'Seeds Of Change' highly enough. Real 'CCM' long before that carry-all banner was coined; it didn't get much better than this.

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#1 | englandashes on April 07 2009 12:10:19
Always was on the top of my list in my early collecting days, great album, together with a very fine review, particulary informing us on how this album was originally welcomed (or maybe unwelcomed) . One of R J Dio best achievements.
#2 | rkbluez on April 10 2009 20:04:41
Always love this record it's pure class...Livegren is a great writer and all around artist...he's written some of my favorite music with Kansas and his CD 'Odyssey Into The Minds Eye'...I have the Jap version of 'Seeds Of Change' and wouldn't part with it...great CD.
#3 | dangerzone on December 05 2012 00:32:32
Great album, although The Imperials version of 'How Can You Live' truly destroys the original here.
#4 | Eric on December 05 2012 02:20:30
I have 'When Things Get Electric' in queue.
#5 | gerard on August 26 2014 22:25:07
Great artist, great album! Didn't know this, but Livgren appears to be an actor as well:

Anybody seen this movie?
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